17 January 2008

The Bolivians Have Gone

Flat Thirtysix had some visitors this week: four new friends from Bolivia. It was the first time that I’d experienced any kind of language barrier within the confines of the flat. Sure, the American/British barrier rears its ugly head from time to time in the streets, but never in Thirtysix.

T is a bilingual Irishman, his wife speaks some English, but her two sisters speak no English. Luckily, I took Spanish classes from the seventh through eleventh grades, so I had all the training I needed to say, “Buenos Dias.” I was also able to ask our guests what their names were, what time they were going to eat dinner, and I could say hello and goodbye flawlessly. I was much better at listening quietly than I was at any attempt at speaking Spanish with an Italian accent. Last night, our guests taught J and I, in Spanish, how to make empanadas from scratch. They were delicious; this is a skill that will surely be put to use in the near future.

Before they left for the airport this evening, T took us out for dinner in Chinatown to thank the men of Flat Thirtysix for our hospitality. It was funny to hear the menu translated into Spanish from English, and then orders being returned in Spanish, translated back into English, and then written on a notebook in Chinese. Our visitors were terrific people and it was great to have them here.

One more day of class, and then the weekend is here. I’m still taking more classes than necessary, just so I’m sure that I’m making the right choices in courses. Hopefully by next week I’ll have my choices locked down and all my attention focused on those. Until then, buenas noches.

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